Quantifying Disaster Casualties Centered on Flooding in the Chikugo River Middle Basin in the Past 400 Years to Determine the Historical Context of the July 2017 Northern Kyushu Torrential Rainfall
Jun Teramura and Yukihiro Shimatani
Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University
744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
In this study, we collated the number of deaths caused by disasters that took place in the Chikugo River middle basin on the island of Kyushu, Japan, from the 1600s to 2017. The compilation of quantitative statistics of floods in Japan began in the modern era, while the statuses of previous disasters are described by vague indices and are thus difficult to quantify. In this study, we geographically restricted our investigation to the Chikugo River middle basin. We quantified the scale of each disaster by using the number of deaths recorded in historical documents. We then compared the disasters that took place in the area since the 1600s to identify the potential disaster risks harbored by our study area. During the period examined, the great famine from 1732 to 1733 was the greatest disaster and caused the most deaths. However, this is the only recorded famine for which fatalities were documented. Meanwhile, floods occurred frequently through this period, 26 of which resulted in fatalities: they had a total death toll of 292. Thus, famines occur infrequently but cause severe damage, whereas floods occur frequently but cause relatively minor damage. During the approximately 400 years examined, there were four floods with death tolls exceeding 30 people. Three of these occurred after 1868, when the modern era of Japan began. Meanwhile, there have been almost no small-scale floods during and after the modern era. By quantitatively assessing the disasters’ scales, we were able to establish that the 2017 northern Kyushu torrential rainfall was the fourth gravest water-related disaster, in terms of its death, toll since the 1600s. If only the north bank of the Chikugo River middle basin is considered, it was the greatest flood disaster to occur in this period.
-  Y. Namegaya and T. Yata, “Tsunamis which affected the Pacific coast of eastern Japan in medieval times inferred from historical documents,” Zisin, Vol.66, No.4, pp. 73-81, doi:10.4294/zisin.66.73, 2014 (in Japanese).
-  K. Inoue, “The growth-history of Takachiho composite volcano in the Kirishima volcano group,” J. of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic Geology, Vol.83, No.1, pp. 26-41, doi:10.2465/ganko.83.26, 1988 (in Japanese).
-  K. Satake, “Historical Earthquake and Tsunami Studies and Long-term Forecast of Large Earthquakes,” Trends in The Sciences, Vol.19, No.9, pp. 14-18, doi:10.5363/tits.19.9_14, 2014 (in Japanese).
-  P. C. Shakti, T. Nakatani, and R. Misumi, “Analysis of Flood Inundation in Ungauged Mountainous River Basins: A Case Study of an Extreme Rain Event on 5–6 July 2017 in Northern Kyushu, Japan,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.13, No.5, pp. 860-872, doi:10.20965/jdr.2018.p0860, 2018.
-  P. C. Shakti, T. Nakatani, and R. Misumi, “Hydrological Simulation of Small River Basins in Northern Kyushu, Japan, During the Extreme Rainfall Event of July 5–6, 2017,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.13, No.2, pp. 396-409, doi:10.20965/jdr.2018.p0396, 2018.
-  W. Murakami and Y. Yasuda, “Relationship between landslides and rainfall distribution in the torrential rain in northern Kyushu in 2017,” Bulletin of FFPRI, Vol.17, No.1, pp. 111-115, doi:10.20756/ffpri.17.1_111, 2018 (in Japanese).
-  T. Okuma, “Change of flood control and flood damage of Tone River,” University of Tokyo Press, 1981 (in Japanese).
-  K. Abe, “A Study on the History of Flood Damage in the Kozenji Canyon, Kitakami River,” Water Science, Vol.46, No.2, pp. 49-77, doi:10.20820/suirikagaku.46.2_49, 2002 (in Japanese).
-  Y. Shinohara and H. Komatsu, “The recent trend in annual death toll by landslide disasters in Japan,” J. of Japan Society of Erosion Control Engineering, Vol.68, No.5, pp. 3-9, doi:10.11475/sabo.68.5_3, 2016 (in Japanese).
-  N. Hilker, A. Badoux, and C. Hegg, “The Swiss flood and landslide damage database 1972-2007,” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Vol.9, No.3, pp. 913-925, 2009.
-  M. Ushiyama, “Basic Study on Trend of Victims Caused by Storm and Flood in Japan,” J. of Japan Society of Civil Engineers, Ser. B1 (Hydraulic Engineering), Vol.73, No.4, pp. I_1369-I_1374, doi:10.2208/jscejhe.73.I_1369, 2017 (in Japanese).
-  S. T. Ashley and W. S. Ashley, “Flood fatalities in the United States,” J. of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Vol.47, No.3, pp. 805-818, doi:10.1175/2007JAMC1611.1, 2008.
-  P. Salvati et al., “Societal landslide and flood risk in Italy,” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Vol.10, No.3, pp. 465-483, doi:10.5194/nhess-10-465-2010, 2010.
-  W. S. Ashley, “Spatial and temporal analysis of tornado fatalities in the United States: 1880–2005,” Weather and Forecasting, Vol.22, No.6, pp. 1214-1228, doi:10.1175/2007WAF2007004.1, 2007.
-  L. Coates, “Flood Fatalities in Australia, 1788-1996,” Australian Geographer, Vol.30, No.3, pp. 391-408, doi:10.1080/00049189993657, 1999.
-  M. D. Therrell and M. B. Bialecki, “A multi-century tree-ring record of spring flooding on the Mississippi River,” J. of Hydrology, Vol.529, Part 2, pp. 490-498, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.11.005, 2015.
-  R. J. Wasson et al., “A 1000-year history of large floods in the Upper Ganga catchment, central Himalaya, India,” Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol.77, pp. 156-166, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.07.022, 2013.
-  The Ministry of Construction, “The Chikugo River 50 years history,” The Kyushu Regional Construction Bureau, Chikugo River Construction Office, 1976 (in Japanese).
-  Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), “Natural Disasters in 2017,” CRED, 2018.
-  CRED and UNISDR, “Economic losses, poverty & disasters: 1998–2017,” 31pp., 2018.
-  Water and Disaster Management Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan, “Flood Statistics in 2015,” 2019.
-  United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030,” 2015.
-  T. Ito, M. Miyamoto, and Y. Ono, “Strengthening Governance on Disaster Risk Reduction Through Improved Disaster Damage Statistics,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.11, No.3, pp. 470-475, doi:10.20965/jdr.2016.p0470, 2016.
-  D. Sasaki and Y. Ono, “Overview of the Special Issue on the Development of Disaster Statistics,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.13, No.6, pp. 1002-1006, doi:10.20965/jdr.2018.p1002, 2018.
-  D. Alexander, “The study of natural disasters, 1977–97: Some reflections on a changing field of knowledge,” Disasters, Vol.21, No.4, pp. 284-304, doi:10.1111/1467-7717.00064, 1997.
-  Y. Muramoto, “Worldwide Trend of Flood and Windstorm Disasters in Terms of Mortality,” J. of Japan Society for Natural Disaster Science, Vol.9, No.3, pp. 87-99, 1990 (in Japanese).
-  Fukuoka Weather Station, “Disasters Occurred in Fukuoka Prefecture,” 1936 (in Japanese).
-  I. Tateishi, “Disasters That Occurred in the modern age in Fukuoka Prefecture,” Publication Society, 1992 (in Japanese).
-  A. Hayami, “Chronology of Population Statistics in Early Meiji Japan,” Bulletin of International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Vol.9, pp. 135-164, doi:10.15055/00000878, 1993 (in Japanese).
-  Chikugo River Right Bank Area, River and Sabo Examination Committee on Restoration Technology, “Chikugo River right bank area, River and sabo Examination Committee on restoration technology Report,” 2017 (in Japanese).
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.